Date: 4th September 2019 at 10:20am
Written by:

Chris Sutton called him a scumbag.

That’s one of the nicer things I’ve read about the sub-human who asked Scott Brown “How’s your sister?” as he came out of Ibrox at the weekend, in a video clip which has gone viral.

It’s one of those things you wish with all your heart you hadn’t seen, and could easily forget, but this one will stay with us for a while.

Scott’s reaction was far more calm than anything I could have managed.

Social media’s reaction is entirely predictable.

The naming and shaming came swiftly. The press hasn’t put his name in lights yet, but that’s the only positive for him because already everyone on Twitter and Facebook and in the Scottish football fan fraternity knows the guy.

And that’s a lot of people.

Whilst I was on holiday in July, read Jon Ronson’s wonderful book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed; it was about exactly this sort of thing, the effect a single moment can have on your life if it happens to go viral. As a consequence of reading that book I think I can imagine how the guy is feeling today.

It won’t be pleasant.

It might not be pleasant again for a long, long time, if it ever is, because this stuff is now part of the permanent record.

The internet is written in pen, not pencil.

That’s how the phrase goes.

It will never be erased.

It’s out there, and out there it is going to stay.

It will be impossible to get rid of entirely.

It will always be there, to haunt him, for the rest of his life.

But because I’ve read that book now, I don’t feel comfortable with the act of public shaming although I have no doubt that he deserves to pay some kind of price for the evil thought that rolled around in his head and popped out of his mouth at our captain.

Frankly, he’s had too much of this article and it’s not about him.

No, I want to pay tribute to the fans all across Scotland, many of them fans of the Ibrox side, who have condemned him.

In particular, thank you to the websites and podcasts and forums which have disowned this person as someone who’s repellent views are not welcome at their clubs. At a time when a lot of people want to pull us apart this reminds us that there are good people out there, right across the spectrum, who just want to watch their football teams.

I know this, intellectually.

I know this, but it never hurts to be reminded of it.

It never hurts when you see the proof of it as clear as it is here.

It cannot be easy for Ibrox fan groups to wish our captain well after he’s so thoroughly dominated them again … but their support for him was grounded in a basic humanity that the clown who abused him didn’t have.

I do find the fake piety of some in the media harder to stomach; the same papers who push the so-called Old Firm rivalry and never cease reminding the world that at its foundation is hatred, the same people who yesterday put a “he hates Celtic” headline above their Ryan Kent piece, topped off with the picture of him smacking Brown in the face … I read some of their hypocritical stuff and I feel bile rising in my throat. They’re fooling nobody.

No, I trust more in the spontaneous reactions of thousands of ordinary fans, people who were just revolted by that despicable clip and who, over the course of yesterday, went online to express their disgust and defend their clubs with a simple, powerful message, and one that every one of us should be thinking about as this season rolls on; Not In Our Name.

That was beautiful.

Out of some real ugliness has come something almost uplifting.

Thank you to every single one of you, no matter the club you represent.

That’s what it’s all about, a moment of solidarity in defence of basic decency.

I wish it didn’t take something so shocking to bring us back to this.

Yesterday was a good day for the good guys.

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